The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact us

Loading Recent Classifieds...

CSUN splits series against St. John’s

The CSUN men’s baseball team split a four-game series against a tough, nationally ranked St. John’s squad this past weekend at Matador Field.

On Friday, the Matadors won in dramatic fashion, 6-5. In Saturday’s doubleheader, Northridge lost the first game 10-4, and won the second 9-7. On Sunday, CSUN fell to the Red Storm 11-6.

Northridge moves to 7-5 (0-0 Big West), while 28th-ranked St. John’s record stands at 8-4 (0-0 Big East).

On Friday, the Matadors jumped out to an early lead, scoring four runs in the bottom of the second inning and batting around the lineup. St. John’s starting pitcher Scott Barnes and relief pitcher Miguel Valcarcel struggled with their accuracy.

Sophomore shortstop Jason Dabbs got the offense started with a ground-rule double, followed by freshman first baseman Matt Warr’s walk. The next batter, freshman second baseman Justin DeMarco knocked Dabbs home with a single up the middle giving the Matadors a 1-0 lead. Three walks and a hit batter later, CSUN had a 4-0 advantage going into the third inning.

St. John’s cut the lead in half in the fourth inning and scored a run in the fifth and sixth to tie the game at 4-4. The teams traded runs in the eighth, setting up a 5-5 tie going into the bottom of the ninth.

Sophomore center fielder C.J. Belanger led off with a double to right center, and two batters later, junior left fielder Richard Cates was intentionally walked. St. John’s strategy to pitch around Cates did not work in its favor. The next batter, junior catcher John Parham, bit on the first pitch and hit a hard infield single to St. John’s shortstop Jeff Grantham. Grantham could not handle the tough bounce and Belanger scored from second giving the Matador’s a 6-5 victory.


“I had been struggling a little bit before that at bat,” Parham said. “I tried to stick with my plan and my approach to the plate and it ended up working out for me.”

In game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, freshman catcher Chris Hannick got CSUN on the scoreboard with a solo home run in the bottom of the second. In the top of the third, Northridge senior pitcher Phil Hann gave up four hits, including a three-run homer to Paul Karmas, giving the Red Storm a 4-1 lead.

The Matadors scored a run in the bottom of the third and fifth to close the gap to 4-3. Hannick tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with his second home run of the day. Going into the game, Hannick had a batting average of only .160.

“It was great to get off that little slide I had going at the plate,” Hannick said. “There is nothing better than hitting two homers in a game.”

After a rough third inning, Hann settled down and only gave up four hits in the next three frames. In the seventh, Hann struggled with the middle of the St. John’s lineup. He gave up a double to Gil Zayas, which knocked in two runs, giving the Red Storm a 6-4 advantage. Freshman Peter Mendez relieved Hann with one out, but SJU would score one more to go up by three runs.

“Phil didn’t have his best stuff today, but I thought he competed real well with what he did have,” CSUN head coach Steve Rousey said. “For two thirds of the game, he kept us in it.”

St. John’s tacked on one more run in the eighth and two in the ninth to make the final score 10-4.

In game two of Saturday’s doubleheader, St. John’s put up three runs in the top of the second and one in the third. Northridge got one run back in the bottom of the third. Freshman second baseman T.S. Reed doubled to left field and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Two batters later, freshman third baseman Ryan Pineda hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Reed.

St. John’s picked up one run in the top of the third and two more runs in the fourth, to extend its lead to 6-1. Northridge came firing back with one run in the fifth. In the bottom of the sixth, Warr hit a two-run home run to cut the St. John’s lead in half. With no outs in the inning, Belanger hit into a fielder’s choice and DeMarco scored the third and final run of the inning.

With the sun starting to go down in the eighth inning, and St. John’s clinging to a 7-5 lead, the umpires decided to let Northridge bat. DeMarco opened the inning with a single, and advanced to second on a walk. DeMarco scored on a passed ball to close the gap to 7-6. Again, the Red Storm intentionally walked a Matador, this time Pineda, and again it backfired. With two men on base, Cates tripled to center field, clearing the bases and giving the Matadors its first lead of the night, 8-7. When asked if he was as relaxed as he looked, Cates laughed.

“I was pretty much scared out of my mind, but I was just looking for a fastball to hit,” Cates said.

Parham came to the plate and walked on four straight pitches, causing the St. John’s bench to erupt. Head coach Ed Blankmeyer ran out of the dugout toward the umpires demanding the game be called due to darkness. After a tirade of profanities, Blankmeyer was thrown out, and the umpires postponed the game until the next day.

“In a dark situation like that the guy that has the difficulty dealing with it is the hitter,” Rousey said. “[Cates] seemed to do alright with it.”

When play picked up on Sunday afternoon, the Matadors scored once more in the bottom of the eighth on a Hannick single up the middle, giving CSUN the 9-7 come-from-behind victory.

In the last game of the series on Sunday, Northridge’s offense got started early in the bottom of the first. Belanger reached on a fielding error and Cates tripled down the line, giving the Matadors a 1-0 lead. Parham hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Cates, putting CSUN up 2-0 going into the second. While Northridge was strong on offense, the team played poorly on defense. The Matadors gave up four errors in the first four innings. St. John’s was able to capitalize on the fielding blunders and had a 5-2 lead going into the fifth.

“Too many walks and too many errors hurt us defensively,” Rousey said. “You’re not going to win that many Division I ball games making that many errors.”

Northridge picked up one run in the bottom of the fifth and looked to be making a come back in the sixth inning with a Cates solo home run. The Red Storm squashed those hopes in the top of the seventh, by knocking in seven runs on three hits. CSUN was able to score two more runs in the bottom of he seventh, but it was not enough. The Red Storm came out on top with an 11-6 victory.

“Against a top 25-ranked opponent, I guess you have to be happy with 2-2,” Rousey said. “[St. John’s] was extremely competitive, and they were never going to give up.”

The Matadors travel to Mississippi this weekend to play a two-game series against Liberty University and the University of Southern Mississippi.

More to Discover